Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, center, listens during a Senate Armed Services hearing on Capitol Hill on June 10, 2021. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with lawmakers behind closed doors this week to answer questions about the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan last summer.
The meeting was originally scheduled for earlier in January, but has been postponed several times because of scheduling issues with Congress. Members of both the Senate Armed Services Committee and Foreign Affairs Committee are expected to attend.
Austin previously appeared before the armed services panel last fall to answer questions about the withdrawal operation, but senators said questions remain about the decision to remove all troops from the country and the rise of terrorist groups in the months since.
Congressional leaders have pledged to continue hearings on many aspects of the Afghanistan mission in coming months, with an eye towards learning from mistakes made so as to avoid them in the future.
Tuesday, Feb. 1
Senate Foreign Relations — 10 a.m. — 106 Dirksen Sudan
State Department officials will testify on the current security situation in Sudan.
Senate Homeland Security — 10:15 a.m. — 342 Dirksen Nominations
The committee will consider several nominations, including Shalanda Young to be director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Wednesday, Feb. 2
Senate Armed Services — 10 a.m. — Visitors Center S200 Closed briefing
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken will deliver a classified briefing on Afghanistan to members of several committees in a closed session.
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing Jobs for veterans
Department officials will testify on efforts to help veterans get high-demand jobs after their military service.
House Homeland Security — 10 a.m. — online hearing Terrorism
Outside experts will testify on global terrorist threats and U.S. strategic response.
House Foreign Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing North Africa
Outside experts will testify on the security situation in North Africa and the Middle East.
House Veterans' Affairs — 2 p.m. — online hearing Health legislation
The committee will mark up several veterans health care measures.
Thursday, Feb. 3
House Veterans' Affairs — 10 a.m. — online hearing Veterans Centers
Department officials will testify on services provided by veterans centers and plans for future expansion.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.